If this is your first experience with Alaska King Crab, you are in for a special treat. For those that follow the Discovery Channel’s, “Deadliest Catch” about king crab fishing, you will know that the fishermen who venture out into the dangerous waters of the Bering Sea, work extremely hard and put themselves at risk to harvest this delicious king crab.
When the king crab is caught, it is usually delivered live in to the shoreside processor and then cleaned and cooked and frozen. We always ship frozen crab, so if you are not going to eat it right away you can store it in the freezer. The best way to thaw the crab legs is to hold them in your refrigerator the night before you plan to serve it.
Cooking Frozen Crab Legs:
There are various ways to prepare and serve the king crab. The simplest method is to steam the frozen crab legs. Using a steamer or colander in a partially filled pot of boiling water, heat the crab legs for six or seven minutes or until thoroughly heated. We like to steam them because the crab are cooked in a light brine solution and steaming reduces the amount of salt in the crab meat. Be careful not to overcook the crab since it is possible to dry them out.
The advantage of boiling king crab legs is that you can add seasoning such as Old Bay or Zatarains Crab Boil. These spices add a delicious spicy flavor to the crab that highlights the texture and taste of the sweet and tender crab meat. You might also try adding some lemon juice or even one of your favorite beers as an alternative way to season the crab.
Depending on the quantity of crab and the size of your pot, we would recommend boiling for seven to ten minutes to thoroughly reheat the crab. You will probably notice some white foam surfacing after the crab has been in the water for little while. Simply remove the crab when cooked and rinse off the foam and serve with melted butter.
The first two methods are the most commonly used in Alaska, however, you can bake the crab in a shallow pan with about half an inch of water. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, cover the crab with aluminum foil and then heat for 7 to 10 minutes. This method is easier since you don’t have to deal with boiling water, however, it doesn’t give you the option to use any seasoning such as Old Bay or Zatarains Crab Boil.
Grilling is always an option, but not one we have tried, mainly because we are more used to steaming or boiling our crab legs, but I can see that cooking crab legs over a campfire or for a summertime bbq would be a big hit. Here are some suggestions to help make sure your grilling experience is successful. First, coat the legs with olive oil or grape seed oil since it is more temperature tolerant. Heat the legs for four or five minutes and then carefully remove the legs and serve.
Cleaning Crab Legs:
Just looking at the jumbo king crab legs can be imposing and you will soon find out that the little black spines are very sharp, so first of all be careful handling the crab. Here is a simple technique that will help you crack the crab and get the most meat with the least effort. This is a local secret but it is alright if you tell your friends that it is your own personal technique!
First separate the legs at the joints with a serrated knife.
The next step is the real secret. Rather than cut along the length of the leg with a knife or scissors, cut across the leg on one side and then snap the leg in half and pull the meat out in one piece. The following pictures show the sequence on how to pick the crab meat quickly and with the least amount of mess or shells getting into the meat.